Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip. In his inimitable manner Will Rogers captured the essence of living a life of integrity. Integrity is not an act, it is not some game, or what we do in public … integrity means that we are the same whether in public or not. One of my mentors, Fred Barshaw would say that we need to be integrated to have integrity – every part of our life must inform and shape every other part in a grand wholeness.
I think that’s what Paul has in mind in his various calls to living a life that is worthy of the Gospel (Phil. 1:27) – especially as he expects it whether he is there to see or if he is “absent” from them. The same thought seems to be found in Philippians 2:12 which is a call to obey “not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling”.
No matter how I define it, my integrity is still tested by what I do when no one is looking – when I think no one can see. And hopefully in the public life I live someone might see some fruits of that integrity. I’m not sure I want to write any more.